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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  July 26, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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christie of new jersey. they've got one now between each other. let's sit back and enjoy the show. as long as the rs, that's the republicans, are stage aguiar over whether to fight, we have a decent chance of averting another real one. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, devastating. that was the reaction from trayvon martin's mother when she heard the stunning admission from juror b29 who said, quote, george zimmerman got away with murder. and today, two weeks after the verdict, sybrina martin's pain is still right there. >> let me just say that i stand here before you today only through the grace of god, only because the spirit that lives within me, because as a mother,
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sybrina couldn't do it. sybrina could not lose her baby. sybrina could not lose one of her children. i just ask you as a mother, as a grandmother, as an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather to wrap your mind around what has happened, because i speak to you as trayvon's mother. i'm just asking you to wrap your mind around that. wrap your mind around no prom for trayvon. no high school graduation for trayvon. no college for trayvon. no grandkids coming from trayvon.
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>> sybrina fulton's emotional words come as we hear more from juror b29. she was the holdout juror. she first voted that george zimmerman was guilty of second-degree murder, but after hours of emotional debate inside the jury room, she eventually agreed to acquit mr. zimmerman. >> george zimmerman got away with murder. but you can't get away from god. and at the end of the day, he is going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with. >> what would you like to say to trayvon's parents? >> i would like to apologize because i feel like i let them down. >> this juror's account takes us inside the jury room to the final decision to set george zimmerman free. joining me now is msnbc legal analyst lisa bloom, former u.s. attorney for the eastern
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district of new york zachary carter, and former criminal prosecutor faith, how are yule doing tonight? >> good. >> they moved me phat, i'm sorry. faith jenkins. i'm sorry. i did give your last name. let me ask you, faith, going to you first. what do you think of the words, first of all, from sybrina fulton, the mother of trayvon martin? emotional words we played back. >> i think it just reflects really the emotional aspect of this case. and you can also listen to the words of the juror and realize that it was a very emotional decision for the jurors. you're never going to separate emotion away from a murder trial when someone has died. and particularly in this case when you you've have a teenager. and i can imagine trayvon's mother feeling a certain level of pain when she feels that this jury really believed that george zimmerman had some culpability, but that under the law and the way they decided to view the evidence and apply to it the
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law, these jurors decided that their hands were tied, and they simply could not convict. >> let me go there with you, zachary carter. you've been a prosecutor and a judge. what happens in a jury room? what happened here? what did you think in your professional mind, not emotionally, personally, when you heard this juror say he got away with murder. i felt he was guilty, but i couldn't do it because of the law. professionally, break that down for me. >> well, professionally, and that's the right term. first of all, she is not a lawyer, and she is not speaking in lawyers' terms. so when she says that her gut tells her that zimmerman got away with murder, i don't hear her using legal terminology. she is using the vern vernacular of people evaluating a situation without regard to the legal. i understand how she felt that george zimmerman, without regard
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to the legal requirements was morally responsible for george zimmerman's death. but what she describes is a struggle that she has in reconciling the judge's instructions on the law with that gut sense that he was morally responsible for zimmerman's death. and in the normal give and take of the deliberative process of a part of any jury deliberation, she at some point came to conclusion or was convinced by other jurors that because of the judge's instructions that she had no choice but to vote that he was -- vote -- a judgment of not guilty, even though she was herself conflicted about whether or not he was morally responsible for trayvon's death. >> she kept talking about intent. was the judge's instruction or the prosecutor's summation vague on how you can and cannot use the intent of george zimmerman? >> well, i've read the jury
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instructions. i have them right here. and after almost 40 years of practice, and of course three years of law school preceding that, it is very difficult to parse these instructions. and for a lay juror -- jury, it would have been very difficult. some of the instructions are redundant. they are not necessarily in an order that would make it easy to understand. there are references to issues that have nothing to do with the case. in my experience, there are judges that fall into two categories with regard to giving jury instructions there are judges that emphasize giving clear instructions to the jury so the jury understands in lay terms what is required of them in evaluating the evidence. and then there are judges that are more concerned about the court of appeals and how they're going to look at the jury instructions and just simply give a recitation of law to the jury. >> let me go to lisa bloom.
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and lisa bloom, let me say this judge carter, i stipulate to the court that lisa has been telling me all along the prosecution should have been stronger. so we stipulate that, lisa, before i let you beat me up on the beginning of this show. i stipulate that. now, let me show you two soundtracks, bites that come from the interview of the juror, and i want your reaction. this is the morning as it played juror b29. i want you to, as she talks about the deliberations. >> tell us more about the emotion during those nine hours, from the initial vote of murder second degree to not guilty. what was going on in your mind, your heart? >> i was the juror that was going to give them the hung jury. oh, i was. i fought to the end. >> did you feel a little -- for lack of a better word, bullied in the deliberations? >> i don't know if i was bullied. i trust god that i wasn't
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bullied. >> do you feel your voice was heard? >> my voice was heard. i was the loudest. yeah. that's for sure. >> i was the loudest, she said, lisa. then she almost made it a hung jury she said. watch this. >> and you said earlier that you are the juror that could have made it a hung jury. >> oh, yes. >> do you have regrets that you didn't? >> kind of. i want trayvon's mom to know that i'm hurting. and if she thought that nobody cared about her son, i could speak for myself, i do care. i couldn't do anything about it. and i felt like i let a lot of people down. and i'm thinking to myself did i go the right way, did i go the wrong way. i know i went the right way, because by the law and the way it was followed is the way i went. but if i would have use mid heart, i probably would have went a hung jury. >> lisa, what does those two statements tell you about what
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might have happened in that jury room and what did and didn't happen in that court during instruction and summation? >> well, clearly that juror who gave her first name as maddy has such conflicting feelings about this verdict. and she didn't have the strength or the wherewithal or the support in the jury room to stand by the verdict that she wanted. what i'm seeing emerge is a real conversation between maddy and sybrina fulton, who they presumably have not ever spoken directly to each other, but via television interviews are having this exchange. and sybrina fulton, we're watching over the last year and a half emerge from this very tragic figure to a real civil rights leader. she digs deep. she speaks from her heart. she is always authentic. she is very clear about what she wants. she is a very powerful speaker. i'm just more and more impressed with sybrina fulton every day and the woman she is growing into. >> i agree.
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now, faith, here we are confronted with a juror saying no, it was what we were told that the law says. i felt he was guilty. two others felt he was guilty of manslaughter. we saw half the jury go in the room, ready to convict him of something. half the jury goes for an acquittal. what happened? >> this is an example of the push and pull that is a part of a jury deliberation process. you go in. you're supposed to vote your conscious. you can tell this juror, her first gut reaction was second-degree murder. but after those discussions and the way they decide to interpret the evidence, because let's be clear, they could have discounted and discredited george zimmerman's story completely and decided to interpret the evidence in a different manner. but the way they interpreted the evidence and decided to apply it to the law, you -- she is saying her hands were tied as a result of that. so that was essentially what happened here. >> we got to go.
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but kickly, zachary carter, did the prosecutor and the judge, do they bear some fault in this confusion of this juror? >> well, the prosecutor prosecutor plays a role along with the defense in making recommendations to the jury -- to the judge with respect to the jury charge. and to the extent this charge could have been presented in a more plain and understandable fashion, the entire system bears responsibility for that. >> thanks to my legal panel. coming up, juror b29 said zimmerman got away with murder. now calls to change the stand your ground law are getting louder. plus, why attorney general eric holder may be bringing his voting rights fight to north carolina. and bill o'reilly and the right continued the desperate push to change the conversation on race from rap music to chicago
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violence to preaching about the black family, anything but race. >> the reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the african-american family. >> i'll show you what is behind the desperation. and friend or foe, i want to know. e-mail me at reply al. it's coming up. i'm a careful investor. when you do what i do, you think about risk. i don't like the ups and downs of the market, but i can't just sit on my cash. i want to be prepared for the long haul. ishares minimum volatility etfs. investments designed for a smoother ride. find out why 9 out of 10 large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus, which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses.
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have you joined the "politicsnation" conversation on facebook yet? we hope you will. today all the talk was about juror b29's revealing interview and what happened in the jury room. robin says she had a sworn duty and she failed.
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she should have hung the jury. carolyn stood up for maddy saying none of us know the kind of pressure put on this woman. and nell says the juror system is very flawed. stronger people convince others that they are right. we'll have much more on juror b29 and growing questions about the stand your ground law in florida. that's coming up. but first, we want to hear what you think too. please head over to face book and search "politicsnation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends. begins with arthritis pain... and a choice. take up to 6 tylenol in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. all aboard. ♪ the house caught fire and we were out on the streets. [ whispering ] shhh. it's only a dream. and we have home insurance. but if we made a claim, our rate would go up... [ whispering ] shhh. you did it right. you have allstate claim rate guard
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we're back with juror b29, making the red hot spotlight on the stand your ground law even hotter. today trayvon martin's mother spoke passionately about it. >> the absolutely worst telephone call you can receive as a parent is to know that your son, your son you will never kiss again, all because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime. >> the stand your ground law gives you the right to kill if you feel threatened. and here is the key part.
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you have no duty to retreat. in the wake of juror b29, there is a lot of questions emerging, perhaps none bigger than the law itself. joining me is former prosecutor marcia clark. she is author of "killer ambition." and back with me are lisa bloom and faith jenkins. marcia, take a listen to what juror b29 said about the not guilty decision. >> how did you go from in nine hours from feeling he was guilty of second-degree murder to not guilty? >> it was hard. a lot of us wanted to find something bad, something that would connect to the law, because all six of us -- well, let's not speak for all six of us. well for my myself, he is guilty. because the evidence shows he is guilty. >> he is guilty of? >> killing trayvon martin. but we couldn't prove that intentionally he killed him.
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and that's that the law was read to me. >> now marcia, she talked about the way the law was read to her. isn't that a reference to the stand your ground's impact on jury instructions? >> you know what, reverend? i'm not so sure. when she said that the law required proof of an intentional killing, that's not the stand your ground law. that's the law that says -- that is required to show intent to kill for the purpose of either proving second-degree murder or manslaughter, for that matter. so what she is referring to isn't the stand your ground law. i believe the other juror previously who came out earlier did refer to the stand your ground law. and if that's the case for both jurors, if they were referring to that, then they would have to have already found factually that trayvon martin was the initial aggressor, because otherwise george zimmerman does not have a right to stand his ground. unless and until he first withdraws, tries to retreat, tries to stop the hostilities.
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and if trayvon martin then continued to fight back, that might be a different story. but in order to have stand your ground be at all relevant, they have to find first that trayvon martin was the initial aggressor. >> and there was no evidence that i can recall that said that, because clearly there was contrary evidence. lisa, when the stand your ground wasn't invoked in the trial as part of the trial per se, but the law still had affected the jury instructions, in fact, in the jury instructions, it says, quote, if george zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful act and was attacked in any place where he had the right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground. that was what the judge read to the jury. >> rite. and i was kind of surprised when i heard the judge read that jury instruction. there were some others that i also thought were completely irrelevant to the trial, like an instruction about an accident. i mean this shooting was not an
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accident. george zimmerman has concede all along that he intentionally took the gun from the holster, pointed it at trayvon martin and intentionally pulled the trigger. and yet there was an instruction about that in there. this is such an odd situation where the defense explicitly said before the trial stand your ground is not going to be part of this case. and that's because their defense was that george zimmerman was pinned down. >> right. >> unable to escape, even if he wanted. to and yet there it is in the jury instruction. and here the jurors are talking about it afterwards. i think that the way stand your ground came in most of all was in george zimmerman's decision to get out of the car, knowing that he was carrying a concealed weapon. and remember, he got an a in the class where he was taught stand your ground and self-defense law. i think in his mind putting it all together, he was not afraid. he was going to follow trayvon martin who he assumed was a criminal, and he was doing that knowing that he was armed and knowing that the law would protect him. and it did. >> since stand your ground has been implemented, the language
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and the charge in the self-defense case has been changed. you see now the buzz words stand your ground being used in these charges, even though that defense is not being put forth at trial. >> and he had the words "stand your ground" was in the instruction." >> that's right. those key words were used. and the duty to retreat was not read to the jury. in fact, they heard there was no duty to retreat. because of the implementation of the law, the duty to retreat language not being read, which means jurors don't hear, you cannot use deadly force unless outhave exhausted other means of exhausted other means of escape or you made an attempt to get away. they did not hear that i'm still not sure what the impact would have been on the jury because george zimmerman's argument was i had no ability to get away. not that he had a way to actually retreat, but he had no ability to retreat that was his defense here. >> marcia, the right wing media is pushing back against criticism of stand your ground. watch this.
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>> the stand your ground law in florida was not a part of zimmerman's defense. >> news flash. stand your ground law didn't apply. >> the theme of his speech was let's stand up against stand your ground law which didn't even play a role here. >> stand your ground didn't even enter zimmerman's defense. >> stand your ground was never part of zimmerman's defense team in that trial. >> it didn't even become an issue in terms of this case. >> the stand your ground law was not a part of the zimmerman case. >> played no role in the actual trial. it was not something that the jury took into consideration. >> marcia, clearly there is almost like the talking points must have been handed out, because they're all trying to say there was no impact when i just read it was said by the judge and the jury instructions, the phrase was used. and clearly the self-defense instruction has been all changed because of stand your ground in that state. >> yes. i mean, there is no question
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that it became a part of the trial in the sense that the judge instructed the jury on it. the jury had it before them to consider. but it's also true that george zimmerman really didn't assert the stand your ground defense in this case. he, you know, he did say, really the defense was that trayvon martin threw the first punch and got him down, and then george zimmerman feared for his life. and there is no stand your ground involved in that, because stand your ground assumes that you can get away and you can retreat, but you don't have to. and that's where stand your ground really comes in. if george zimmerman had said you know what? he punched me in the nose and i was standing, i was about to run away and i thought screw that, i don't have to and he fought back, stand your ground then bangs issue. but that wasn't the factual pattern asserted by the defense here. it's true that stand your ground legally speaking didn't apply. and even the way the jurors talk about their verdict, it doesn't seem it really applied to them. the funny thing about it is they
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keep saying the law required us, the law required us. but that's nonsense. the law itself does not require you to do anything. the fact you find require you to do something. and then the facts apply to the law dictate the verdict. but if you had not already found, jurors had not already found that trayvon martin was the aggressor basically that. >> couldn't have come up with this verdict. so to me, it's their way of dancing around the fact that they determined that trayvon martin threw the first punch and got george zimmerman down, essentially buying the defense, hook, line and sinker. >> i wish somebody had said what you just said at the trial. maybe the prosecutor. maybe the judge. >> hear hear. >> marcia clark, lisa bloom, faith jenkins, thank you for your time tonight. coming up, bill o'reilly spent all week avoiding the race conversation in america and preaching about negative stereotypes. we're going to have that conversation next. what are you doing? oh, hey.
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it's a cynical appeal to the worst instincts in our great country. and in the time since george zimmerman's acquittal, some right-wingers have gone into overdrive to push the most negative stereotypes of the african-american community for their own gain. the rush/hannity/o'reilly crowd, the unholy triumvirate, how they can make it okay for a man to shoot a teenager on his way home with candy and a cold drink. to many in the african-american community, the killing of that teenager is emblematic of a grossly unjust system of a thousand unequal steps from stop and frisk to disproportionate drug laws to racially motivated
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sentencing, including death sentences. that is the conversation the rush/hannity/o'reilly crowd don't want to have. instead, they are dancing as fast as they can to change the subject. >> 61 people died in chicago. and i have their names right here. >> the mini holocaust in chicago where hundreds of african-americans are murdered each year. >> that kind of crime, the crime that is happening in chicago we're not supposed to see. we're not supposed to talk about it. >> yes, the unholy three had discovered the epidemic of violence in chicago, which many of us in african-american community have been talking about for many months. better late than never, i guess. bill o'reilly has also been trying to make the black family the issue. >> the reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the african-american family. the disintegration of the
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african-american family. when was the last time you saw a major civil rights organization trying to discourage african-american women from getting pregnant out of wedlock? >> so is bill o'reilly saying george zimmerman shot trayvon martin because trayvon was born out of wedlock, even though he wasn't? that's ridiculous, right? which is why i'm asking, what does any of that have to do with trayvon martin? he had loving parents. after watching their determined love for their son over the past year, there any doubt trayvon came from a strong home, a loving home? all of this is an effort to avoid addressing the urgent topic that something is fundamentally flawed with our justice system if laws like stand your ground allow a kid to be gunned down, but rush, hannity, o'reilly don't want to talk about that. and that's why they keep trying
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to change the conversation. not that bill o'reilly has a problem with racial stereotyping. >> very integrated, diverse audience. and they're hearing you. and i think that black people are going to feel that you're stereotyping them. >> yes. you have shown you don't care. bill o'reilly has long shown a deep ignorance of black culture. don't take my word for it. take his. >> the majority of blacks want money to spent to level a playing field, to redistribute income from the white establishment to their precincts and to provide better health care and education at government expense. >> so says the expert on the vast majority of what african-americans want. maybe bill o'reilly is worried history is passing him by. he suggested so himself on election night. >> to changing country, the demographics are changing. it's not a traditional america anymore.
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and there are 50% of the voting public who want stuff. they want things. and who is going to give them things? president obama. >> this is what bill o'reilly thinks about the black community. so how can he be expected to make any sense of the real problems facing the black community? would he even have a clue? we need a real conversation about justice in this country, not the same old right-wing divide and conquer garbage. bill o'reilly, the stuff has got to go. joining me now is g joe madison. thank you for being here. joe, what are o'reilly and the rest up to? >> well, they're up to diversion. that's exactly what it is. look, the far right, when you hear them talk, talk as if
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everything is personal responsibility, as if public policy has nothing to do with it. so take wall street for example. personal responsibility. people who drove wall street into the ground did what? turned to government, public policy, to help bail them out. and we did. so what they're trying to say is the problem with the black community is that they are pathological. they're pathological criminals. they're path logically ignorant. and therefore when it comes to public policy, that is the need to invest in the community. why bother? because they are just pathological. it is inherent. and that's really what is going on. number two, and finally, they are going -- look, women are ticked off because of abortion rights. hispanics are ticked off because of these draconian attitudes that the far right is preaching on radio. and blacks are ticked off.
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so now you have the possibility of three strong major demographic groups saying to each other we've got a common enemy. so what -- and they're afraid of this cohesiveness that could in fact come together. >> so they change the conversation. >> and so they change the conversation. but what they're trying to say is it's inherent. you can't help them if you wanted to. so why waste money? and that plays on capitol hill. >> well, let me ask you this, goldie. it's interesting that cable's lecture in chief, let me call him, is criticizing the african-american community. considering i took him to dinner harlem. >> i remember. >> at sylvia's restaurant. >> absolutely. >> let me play for you what he said about -- this is him. i'm not quoting. this is bill oh really. >> there wasn't one person in sylvia's who was screaming m-fer, i want more iced tea.
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you know. >> please. >> it was like going into an italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun, and it wasn't any kind of craziness at all. >> i mean, he expected people to be in a restaurant, sylvia's restaurant in harlem, a family restaurant saying mf-er, i want some iced tea. what is o'reilly interested? is he just riling up his audience? >> i think he really is. there is a name for this. when you prey on the weaknesses of others, when you exploit those weaknesses for your personal gain, there is a word for it. it's pimping. it's pandering. and that's what he is after here there is a two-fold people for people like bill o'reilly and sean hasn't. >> the it's both economic and political. it pays off at the ballot box because it preys into a brand of white populism that runs itself in cycles and that drives them out to the polls. and this upcoming midterm
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election, they're hoping for it. and economically, it drives up ratings when you with prey on the fears of people. you can prey on their biases for intolerance, insecurities. when you can give them saharboro bring their fears to, that's what makes the cash register ring. >> all week we have heard the attacks on those who bring up issues of inequality. listen to this. >> all right. >> hustlers and the grievance industry have intimidated the so-called conversation, turning any valid criticism of african-american culture into charges of racial bias. >> the left does not want race problems to be solved. they want them exacerbated. two many people make money off of racial strife, and therefore they're always going to promote it. >> you actually think that we sit around in the democratic party and we want to have racial division? >> of course. >> i do.
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>> what was the strategy? obviously anybody in the right mind know there's is no money in standing around for justice and having marches and rallies and things that cost money. what is the strategy to accuse those that point out these instances of being racist themselves or being what all of the stuff they come with? >> i will call you what i am before you get a chance to call me that. that's really what this is. and, you know, this is amazing. when goldie was talking, i thought of another phrase we used to have. we used to call people like these folks drive-by shooters. in order, they would drive by a black community and shoot off their mouths about something they don't know much about. that's what they really are. and so they try -- and they're only experts to a small group of people. but you know, and i know, if they really are that concerned, tell you, why don't they do what
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you did with your show. why don't that they do what i do with my show, go into the community. they've got more resources than we've got. go into the community. do your show. you know that we don't just walk into a community and say he we are here. people call and say when are we going to come? we need your help. on the other hand, you get criticized if you don't help. and then on the other hand, you get called names, hustlers in industry, and if anybody's got an industry, it's the glenn becks that sell levis and books and the heritage foundation. please. >> we're going run out of time. i mean, a lot of personal attacks on a lot of us. i'm not concerned than. i'm in the public domain. but we really are talking about people's lives. >> that's right. >> there can be more trayvon martins if we don't deal with laws like stand your ground. i mean, this is very serious to me. goldie, there could be more
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incidents, there could be more jurors that are perplexed. when do we stop the distractions and the hogwash? that's why i'm not even addressing and getting defensive. when do we deal with the real issues? do we have to wait on the next mother to call me? >> well, what happens, reverend, when we have this kind of dangerous rhetoric out there, it informs the thinking of a person like george zimmerman where he begins to believe that people of color have an innate sinister nature to them. or it impacts the next young black man as he goes to seek a meaningful job opportunity or meaningful educational opportunity, or the young black mother who goes to get a meaningful health care opportunity. these are the kinds of things that inform our populace and keep us divided. our work, our daily work, and i got to tell you, it doesn't pay. our daily work is to get into our communities and make certain that they have the resources that they need to rebuild themselves and to survive, cope, make it and flourish. that is our job. when we find right-minded friends who can help news that
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effort, then we ought to wrap our arms around them. but at the end of the day, we cannot, cannot let this kind of rhetoric win. >> and we should address all of it. >> that's right. >> the good and the bad in our community and go forward, but keep our eye on the prize on all of it. goldie taylor and joe madison, thank you for your time tonight, and have a great weekend. >> you too. >> thank you, reverend sharpton. coming up next, we need to watch what is happening in north carolina. republicans are trying to make it harder for everyone to vote. but there is a plan. and before brown very the board of education, before the voting rights act, before affirmative action, something major happened on this day, 65 years ago that allowed all of that to happen. stay with us. [ male announcer ] here's a word you should keep in mind. unbiased.
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some people say that today is the birthday of the civil rights movement, that it all began on this day, 65 years ago. that story is next. are you guy? having some fiber! with new phillips' fiber good gummies. they're fruity delicious! just two gummies have 4 grams of fiber! to help support regularity! i want some... [ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'.
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the birth of the civil rights movement. in many ways, it happened 65 years ago today. on july 26th, 1948, president
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harry truman signed an executive order to end racial segregation in the u.s. armed forces. take a look at the headline that day. "president truman wipes out segregation in armed forces." black soldiers who fought and died for their country were now preparing for a different war here at home. what followed were the marches on washington, the voting rights act, and the end of the so-called era of separate but equal. and today we have our first african-american attorney general. and though we have much more work to do, we see progress every day in our first african-american president. but much progress was made possible by harry truman's executive order. joining me now is ron james jr., the author of the new book "the double v: how wars, protest, and harry truman desegregated america's military."
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thanks for being here. >> thank you for having me, reverend sharpton. >> you called this the start of the civil rights movement. why? >> segregation in america's military was the first issue to unite all african-americans, regardless of class and regardless of in which state they lived. it was the first issue to unite all african-americans since emancipation. and this was because regardless of whether a man was a graduate of harvard law school as some african-americans were, or whether he was a share cropper in alabama with a second grade education, he was swept into the same brutally segregated american military. so there was no way that the new yorker could claim that that was a problem in the south. and there was no way that the poor southerners could say this was a problem of the bourgeois northerns. all african-americans were united with the struggle to desegregate america's military. >> give me an example. blacks that fought in world war i were in segregated barracks and segregated units. how was it different in world
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wore two? >> well, world war ii unfortunately it was very much of the same, which one big exception, and that is that there were more african-american officers during world war two. this is a direct result of the struggle that took place in world war i. the first chip away at the blob was getting congress and the war department and the woodrow wilson administration to agree to commission african-american officers in the united states army. and this continued to a greater extent during world war two. >> how were soldiers being treated coming back from war? >> coming back from world war i, there was the red summer of 1919, and soldiers were lynched and attacked, often while still wearing their uniforms. >> they were still wearing their uniforms. they went and fought for the country abroad, came home and was lynched in their uniforms? >> wearing their uniforms, the naacp issued a statement at the time saying a colored man wearing his uniform is like waving a red flag before a bull
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to the southern reactionary. the southerners did not like it. many of the southern racist young white men would wait at train stations for african-americans departing, just like most southerners, white and black were departing at these train stations, still wearing these uniforms because these were the only clothing they had after being at war. >> tell me why harry truman was an unlikely hero of this. >> president truman was raised in what he described as a violently prejudiced southern family. and he certainly was an unlikely president to desegregate the military, except when one considers the fact that even as a united states senator, harry truman always had been attuned to the needs and the precarious situation in which african-americans found themselves through the 1930s and through the 1940s. he was largely dependent on african-american voters for his reelection to the senate. >> yeah. >> and without that reelection,
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he certainly would not have been chosen to be president roosevelt's vice presidential running mate. >> let me ask you this. i'm rung out of time. but tell us the story of isaac woodward, the black veteran returning home from the war. >> well, very briefly, isaac woodward was a technical sergeant in the army traveling home through south carolina after world war ii. and he asked the bus driver if he could please get off at the next stop so he could make a quick stop to the men's room. and the bus driver said boy, sit back down and stop talking to loudly woodward said said i'm a man and you will speak to me as a man. this was too much for the bus driver to bear. so when they pulled into the next town, the bus driver invited two police officers on board. they took mr. woodard off the bus and they began to beat him. and when he fought back, the sergeant took his nightstick, it was a sawed off nightstick and began to beat sergeant woodard in the eyeballs. he ruptured both of his eyeballs and then arrested him. sergeant woodard awoke in a jail
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cell the next day blind. and harry truman, when he learned of this in the oval office exclaimed my god, i had no idea it was as bad as that. if this is any point at which i would say president truman decided once and for all that he was going to desegregate america's military, i believe it was when he learned of the blinding of isaac woodard. >> and you know medgar evers was also a veteran who was killed fighting for the rights to vote in mississippi. ron james jr., thank you for joining us. the book is called "double v." the most radical vote of suppression bill in the country is law because these kinds of things were fought. people that went and fought for the country abroad, and then had to come and fight for their rights at home. and some of us have it much better, but still have to continue that fight. asional have constipation,
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it's time for "reply al." friend or foe, i want to know. we've gotten a lot of questions about voting in north carolina. one month after the voting rights act was gutted as the supreme court, we are seeing the ugly move to block voters is being called the most radical voter suppression bill in the country. republicans in the state house sent to it the governor's desk. the bill imposes a strict voter id requirement. eliminates same day voter registration. cuts the early voting period by a full week. stops the extension of polling hours, even if there is long lines. increases the numbers of poll watchers, and even bans preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds. but we will not back down, north carolina. attorney general eric holder has his eye on you, and we will be watching closely. we will be monitoring north carolina.
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thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. have a great weekend. "hardball" starts right now. weiner weary and stay classy san diego. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. the new yorker magazine for next week has anthony weiner mounted up on the empire state building tv helicopters swarming around and above as he takes pictures of the tower's pinnacle. it wouldn't be -- it would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact it's dominating democratic politics in this world. weren't we the country that taught the world that people had the brains and judgment to pick their own leaders? didn't we say, certainly churchill did that democracy is the best form of government.


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